After spending the morning in Greenville shopping with Guy, I was looking for a cookie recipe that I could make quickly. This one is from Land O Lakes, and if you haven't been to their website yet, surf over to http://www.landolakes.com/ to find some really good recipes. The only complaint I have about this recipe is that it only made 16 cookies. You can get 20 if you do it their way -- in sticks instead of in triangles. But since I'm giving away the majority of my cookies, 16 means I will be putting 1 or 2 in each gift plate -- not very many. If I make these next year, I'll double the recipe and do it in a 9 x 12 pan. As for the taste -- how can you go wrong with shortbread? The buttery taste of shortbread topped with caramel and pecans is a winner.
Caramel Shortbread Sticks or Triangles
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 tsp. molasses & 2 Tbsp. sugar)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
For topping: 30 unwrapped caramels
1 Tbsp. half and half
1/2 cup chopped pecans
(I used 1/4 cup caramel sundae sauce boiled with 1 Tbsp. butter
for the dip, and 1 cup of toasted chopped pecans.)
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325F. Combine butter and sugars in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until well mixed.
Press dough evenly into 8" square pan lined with aluminum foil (I used parchment and had it hang over the edge slightly so I could pick it up.); prick with tines of fork every 1/2 inch. (I lightly scored the dough the way I was going to cut it after it was baked: first in 4 squares, then each square in 4 triangles, making 16 triangles, as in the top photo above. I pricked each triangle 3 times at the broad base.) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Lift cookies from pan immediately using the aluminum foil or parchment ends. Cut into 20 sticks, approximately 4 x 1/2 inch, or into 16 triangles. Cool completely on wire rack.
Place caramels and half and half in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high, stirring twice, until caramels are melted (1-2 minutes). Dip ends of shortbread sticks into melted caramel mixture; roll in pecans. Place onto waxed paper; let stand till set. (Or you can boil the caramel sauce and butter for a few minutes and dip cookies into that. And they will set quickly if you place them on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes.)